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Speed/Display issues/unfamiliar error messages, crashes/hangs or any other problems regarding ARCHICAD (Example: I get an error message when the 3D Window is generated, please help!).
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Moderators: Barry Kelly, Karl Ottenstein, LaszloNagy, ejrolon, gkmethy

By kielbasa

I have a quite complicated roof model with different angled surfaces. I'd like to have each of these surfaces to be drawn separately in its real size/shape on the floor plan, so I could print it out and cut out with scissors to make a paper model eventually. I know there is 'look to perpendicular' option, but I'd like to click once and not to do it one by one, especially when there's a lot of objects/surfaces I'd like to unfold.
How can I do it?
is there a special plugin maybe?
Unfortunately the only way I know how involves taking a detour through a different or third party software.

So in the event you happen to know how to use Rhino (and have a license to a copy), I would convert the roof into a Morph object (and boolean union if necessary to make it one object)), and then export this Morph object as a 3D file (3ds, obj or directly into Rhino format in 3dm which Archicad can export to), and then in Rhino convert this object which will have been imported as a Mesh into a NURBS object (Mesh2Nurbs command), and from that point it has a simple basic unfold command that lays out the faces as you would need them in a model construction.

Either that or Pepakura Designer ( - another popular software we used to use in Grad school that's very popular for this exact same thing with 3D modeled geometry, complete with adding folding flaps and flaps to use to glue the separate pieces together in the model.

OF the two methods I would probably recommend Pepakura since it's free to download and really quite easy to use (especially if you're into Origami). Just be cognizant of how you export the geometry since it explodes it as is (meaning an exposed roof plane with thickness will give you 6 faces and not just one. So maybe hide the surfaces you don't need before Boolean union after you convert it into a morph object).

I'm not entirely certain you can do this using ArchiCAD on it's own other than the manual method you described.
No problem.
And you're welcome.
Glad to know I could be of some help.

Sometimes you pick up knowledge of how to do stuff and can't ever be certain it'll ever be useful to you again, let alone to anyone else.

I hope Graphisoft pick up the ball and work to make ArchiCAD versions in the future more amenable to digital reproduction using the digital model from their files through the various means that are available to architects and designers nowadays beyond just 3D Printing (like CNC Milling, laser cutting and paperfold models like you wanted, vacuforming,..etc.)

They already have the ingredients in the program right now. (the Morph tool's function that checks a morph object for solidity is basically like 95% of all the preparation one does to prepare a digital model for 3D printing or CNC Milling - i.e making it "watertight".
You just have to extend that to the rest of the model)